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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • 'Rabbits slam Pangburn

  • Lonoke guard Jamel Rankin scored 19 points and forward Blake Mack added 18, including an array of dunks, leading the 4A Jackrabbits to an 81-53 win over Pangburn on Wednesday at Conway Christian.
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  • Lonoke guard Jamel Rankin scored 19 points and forward Blake Mack added 18, including an array of dunks, leading the 4A Jackrabbits to an 81-53 win over Pangburn on Wednesday at Conway Christian.
    The Tigers had already secured a spot in the Ortho Arkansas Conway Christian Invitational semifinals by virtue of West Fork's inability to make the trip, but needing a game, Lonoke made the trip up to Conway to take on Pangburn.
    Pangburn opened the game in a tightly packed 2-3 zone, forcing the lightning quick 'Rabbits to shoot from the perimeter. However, once Lonoke was able to build a lead, the floor opened and Lonoke exploded with transition buckets.
    Forward Hunter Bell gave Pangburn an early 2-0 lead with a bank shot from right side. Trailing 4-2, forward Ty Galyan caught the ball at the free throw line and drove right side of lane for a layup, plus the foul.
    After Galyan converted from the line to finish the three-point play, guard Austin Smith slashed through the middle of the lane for a layup as the Tigers took a 7-4 lead before Lonoke rattled off 10 consecutive, including a steal and one-handed jam by Mack, who has verbally committed to play football at Arkansas State.
    Guard Tykel Gray's layup following a steal by Mack completed Lonoke's run, which briefly stopped when Pangburn guard Alec Bourgeois dropped a floater. Holding for the last shot, Mack turned an offensive rebound into a free throw in the closing seconds of the period, giving the 'Rabbits a 15-9 lead after eight minutes of play.
    Pangburn trimmed its deficit to four early on its opening possession of the second quarter when Galyan blew past his defender for a layup, but Gray scored on a run-out following a block by Mack, who moments later scored in transition.
    Swingman Aaron Brown hit two free throws but Lonoke guard Darian Young drilled a deep three-pointer from left wing before Galyan recorded a stick back over two defenders. Smith added a free throw as the Tigers pulled within six, but Lonoke outscored Pangburn 17-5 in the final four minutes of the first half as Rankin ripped two three-pointers, Mack scored five points and Gray had four during the span.
    Galyan sank three free throws after drawing a foul at the buzzer, leaving Lonoke with a 39-21 lead at halftime.
    Galyan, a junior, continued to shine for the Tigers in the third quarter by pumping in 13 points while using his driving ability to knife inside the paint. But Pangburn couldn't slow the 'Rabbits, who scored 29 points in the period.
    Rankin and Young each scored nine points for Lonoke in the third quarter and Mack added seven, including a spectacular slam dunk off an assist from Young, who bounced the ball off the backboard on a fast break.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lonoke Guard Darius McCall added four points in the third quarter for Lonoke, which extended its lead to 67-36 after Young picked two steals, turning both into uncontested layups.
    After Mack hit a free throw, Smith nailed a shot from just inside the timeline as the buzzer sounded, cutting Pangburn's deficit to 68-39 and keeping the mercy rule from going into effect.
    Brown scored off a lob to open the fourth quarter then guard Chase Hopkins picked a steal and finished with a layup while drawing contact. Hopkins converted from the line to complete the three-point play and Galyan added a free throw but it was too late for a comeback as both teams began to filter in reserves throughout the final period.
    Following Rankin (19) and Mack's (18) combined 37 points, Young had 12, Gray added 11 and guard Darius McCall had eight for Lonoke, which improved to 4-0.
    Galyan scored a game-high 27 points for Pangburn (7-3) and Smith finished with 10 for the Tigers, who played Sacred Heart in the semifinals Thursday before traveling to Walnut Ridge for a 2-2A Conference game tonight.

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